How you can Stay AHEAD
Our brain and our mind are complex, so it’s understandable that no single strategy can keep us thriving and mentally well over the course of our entire life. We’re always growing and changing – as are our surroundings – so what worked at 25 might not be so successful at 55.
The good news is that there are lots of things we can all do to promote mental wellbeing and prevent mental health conditions.
To keep things simple we’ve grouped these into a phrase that’s easy to remember: ‘Staying AHEAD’.
A is for awareness. Being aware of your risks for poor mental health – such as a family history of mental illness, difficult childhood experiences, or life stresses and strains – helps you to be proactive and stay ahead of depression, anxiety and other conditions.
H is for a healthy lifestyle. Getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, being physically active each day, and cutting back on alcohol, smoking and other drugs are all good for your body – and good for your brain and mind as well.
E is for emotional flexibility. Learn how to monitor, recognise and regulate your emotions to maintain a generally positive balance in your mood.
A is for adversity support. Caring relationships, a strong social network and social connections make us happy, give us purpose, and support us through tough times.
D is for direction. Having a sense of purpose and meaning in life that drives and fulfils you can contribute to mental wellbeing.
Feeling good and staying AHEAD of mental health conditions involves working on your mind, body, relationships and life goals. Everyone’s different, so it’s about finding the mix of strategies that works for you and making it part of your daily routine. It can take a little effort, but the payoff is worth it – and it’ll feel like second nature before you know it.